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Gerd Leonhard on Technology vs Humanity: The Future Belongs to Those Who Can Hear It Coming

Gerd Leonhardtechnology-vs-humanity is a musician, keynote speaker and futurist with over 300 clients, 1,500 engagements and over a million people of combined audience at venues across the world. Gerd is most recently the author of a brand new book titled Technology vs Humanity: The Coming Clash Between Man and Machine and, as someone who puts stress on ethics in his work as a futurist, I thought he would make a great interviewee on Singularity.FM. So check out his interview and let me know what you think!

During our 80 min discussion with Gerd Leonhard we cover a variety of interesting topics such as: why Gerd considers himself a humanist and a traveller; his journey from theology and philosophy through music and entrepreneurship and into foresight and futurism; starting a Spotify-type of a company 10 years too early and writing his bestseller book The Future of Music; the idea of merging with machines and his latest book Technology vs Humanity; whether we want Silicon Valley and DARPA to determine the future of humanity; why technology is not enough and the need for digital ethics; political referendums, universal basic income and technological unemployment; his concept of CORE vs the popular STEM; capitalism, abundance and profit…

Just some of the quotes that I will take away from this conversation with Gerd Leonhard are:

“The biggest danger is not that machines will kill us… or replace us. The biggest danger is that we become like the machines.”

“Embrace technology but do not become it!”

“The future belongs to those who can hear it coming” [David Bowie]

As always you can listen to or download the audio file above or scroll down and watch the video interview in full. To show your support you can write a review on iTunes or make a donation.

Who is Gerd Leonhard?

Gerd LeonhardGerd Leonhard is a widely-known and top-rated futurist, with over 1500 engagements in 50+ countries since 2004 and a combined audience of over 1 million people. Gerd focusses on near-future, ‘nowist’ observations and actionable foresights in the sectors of humanity, society, business and commerce, media, technology and communications.

Gerd is also an influential author, a sought-after executive ‘future trainer’ and a trusted strategic advisor. He is the co-author of the best-selling book The Future of Music and the author of 5 other books including Technology vs Humanity. Gerd is also the host of the web-TV series TheFutureShow and the CEO of TheFuturesAgency, a global network of over 30 leading futurists.

Gerd is considered a leading voice on a wide range of topics including digital transformation and the opportunity-challenges of the coming exponential society, a sustainable business and cultural ecology, social media and communications, TV / film, radio and broadcasting futures, mobile content and commerce, innovation, leadership and entrepreneurship, ‘hard-future’ consumer trends, human-machine futures and AI, cognitive computing, the IoT, big data and automation, next-generation advertising, marketing and branding, as well as sustainability and related ‘green future’ topics. In 2006, The Wall Street Journal called Gerd ‘one of the leading Media Futurists in the World’. In 2015, Wired Magazine listed Gerd as #88 of the top 100 influencers in Europe. He’s #21 on the global list of futurists.

Gerd’s keynotes, speeches and presentations are renowned for their hard-hitting and provocative yet inspiring, often humorous and always personal motivational style. Gerd is highly regarded as a global influencer and has advised many business leaders and government officials around the globe. His diverse client list of over 300 companies includes UBS, Mastercard, Unilever, Lloyds Bank, WWF, Nokia, The Guardian, Google, Sony, Telkom Indonesia, Siemens, RTL, ITV, BBC, France Telecom, Orange, Deutsche Telekom, MTN, The Financial Times, DDB, Ogilvy, Omnicom, IPG, The EU Commission, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, VISA, and many others.

Gerd’s background is in the music business; in 1985 he won Berklee College’s ‘Quincy Jones Award’ and subsequently spent 12 years working as a professional guitarist, composer and producer. He then caught the Internet-bug and became a digital music & media entrepreneur, serving as Founder/CEO of several Internet startups, based in San Francisco. In 2002, following the .com meltdown and the 9/11 crisis, Gerd returned to Europe and discovered his new calling as a futurist.

He now travels around the globe to speak at leading conferences and events, company retreats, seminars and in-house trainings, and offering his unique ‘FutureExperience’ trainings along with his colleagues at The Futures Agency, an international organization that Gerd founded in 2010 to meet client demand for tried-and-tested future-trainers, speakers and personalities.

Gerd is a fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts (London) and a member of the World Future Society. A native German, Gerd resides in Basel, Switzerland, and maintains an office in San Francisco. He presents both in English as well as in German.

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  • MM

    Regarding VR, it seems it will be repeating history. At least this 1st generation (after the so-called rebirth) doesn’t seem to cut it, I hope it improves but, even then, few people seem to be able to “endure” more than, say, half an hour on those things. I, for one, am much more interested in AR.

    Democracy is NOT efficient. Not to be judgemental in case that’s your position (hey! we all have our internal dictators 🙂 and I’m pretty sure you’ll meet “fierce” competition) but, IF your optimization objective is Efficiency, you *will* optimize Democracy out. That’s the price we pay for stability and more cultural works which brings a higher probability of “better” ones (if there is such a thing).. your Mozarts and your van Goghs.

    Yes, Nikola, Brazilians like soccer, because it’s cheap. Their (unethical) doctors tho, do not like cheap.

  • marco alpini

    I would like to know what Gerd thinks is going to happen when we will be able to extend the life of people, should we let people die in order to avoid cyborgysm? or should we replace parts that are out of order and let them continue living? Should we do it with the brain as well? and if we can improve performances in the process, for how long can we resist? Can we resist to evolution? are we evolving in new species? we have learned that, in nature, if you don’t evolve you get extinct. If we don’t evolve in a way that will allow us to leave this planet we will get extinct. Evolution is accelerating transitioning from natural selection of random changes to evolution by design. This is what intelligence does, can we resist to intelligence? I think, if we look a bit further ahead in thefuture, the challenge to Greg arguments get more intriguing.

  • Dan Harrison

    Some great questions here Marco, i am going to purpose a few of these to a guest we have coming up on our podcast very soon called James Barrat, who wrote the book our final invention. Thank you for giving me some ideas on some cool questions

  • kurt9

    The future belongs to whoever creates it.

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